Launched in 2012, the Iraq Legal Education Initiative (ILEI) is a partnership between Stanford Law School and the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS). The project presentes a unique opportunity to build a center of excellence for legal education in Kurdish Iraq.
Shaped by decades of dictatorship, war, isolation, and political change, the legal systems of Iraq and its Kurdistan Region have developed into a complex hybrid of local, regional and federal laws as well as practices rooted in custom or religion. As a result, law school curriculum tends to be outdated and impractical. Many textbooks date back to Baghdad in the 1970s and do not cover key recent developments in Iraqi and Kurdish law, such as the new Constitution of 2005.
ILEI was created in response to demand from legal scholars and practitioners in Kurdistan, who recognize that quality legal education is a key step to developing a stronger legal system and rule of law. Using textbooks and curriculum developed by SLS students in collaboration with Iraqi experts, AUIS professors will begin teaching AUIS’s first law courses in the spring of 2014. After the completion of the pilot phase in 2014, SLS students will continue to produce original legal education materials intended for use at AUIS and beyond. As with all of the Rule of Law Program’s Projects, ILEI works collaboratively with a range of local actors, sharing feedback, ideas, and new developments in Iraqi and Kurdish law.